Page02 - Tree felling, M25 Air Pollution, Air standards legal threrat

Council acts over tree felling 

Concerted action has resulted in a successful conclusion to the saga of a shaky episode of tree protection, our environment correspondent reports. ln an earlier issue of the Newsletter we expressed our concern about Three Rivers District Council`s enforcement of tree protection orders. This concern was particularly centered on a garden in Chorleywood. where the owner had removed protected trees despite permission being refused by the council. Neighbours complained to the council, over a long period of time, and they were supported by the Residents’ Association and their district councillor. A tree replacement order was eventually issued by the council on the owner. 

The latest news is that the owner did plant replacement trees. However. neighbours complained that the replacement trees are 'twigs' compared with the magnificent trees the owner of the property felled without permission. One oak tree was also still in dispute. 

This March, the council entered the site and planted an oak tree, as no action had been taken by the owner to replant this tree. the subject ofa tree replacement notice. A new TPO was served at the same time, ensuring the individual protection of this tree to secure its future. So, we are pleased to report that action has been taken. 

LOCAL AIR POLLUTION AND THE M25 

The Government 10 year transport plan ‘Transport 2010’ was announced in July 2000. It set out a long-term strategy for a quicker, safer, more reliable and environmentally friendly transport system for the nation. Road transport is a major source of air pollution and Chorleywood as might be expected is in the front line. There are two issues that the Association has been pursuing over the past years - the levels of pollution when compared to national levels and more precisely where the local scientific measurements are taken. Three Rivers DC aims to encourage direct action to put pressure onto the Highway Agency which has full control over the M25. The Agency’s commitment to reducing road traffic / pollution is vital. 'Our own ecological footprint is high because of the distances travelled by car. The average resident travelling 50% further for all modes of transport are higher from being on the outer fringes of London close to both the M1 and the M25.

Reviews and assessments of air quality within Three Rivers has been completed and revealed three areas where the Government objectives for nitrogen oxide and PM particles are not met. Current and future studies of the M25 become important. To reduce the nitrogen dioxide concentration at properties closest to the motorway and within the Chorleywood air quality management area there are two options. The first is to reduce speed limits to 80 kilometres (50 miles) an hour. and the second is to reduce all traffic on the motorway by 20 percent. The vehicle reduction studies are to be completed but it seems that reductions more than the 20 percent are unlikely to be achieved. lf so, then slower traffic might pound through and past our community. The Association has pressed to have the Rectory Road, Rickmansworth monitoring station moved closer to Chorleywood, at Junction l8, Presumably the impending upgrade to four lanes will see further delays to the agreed move. How the monitoring station sited in Rickmansworth can measure M25 pollution has intrigued many for a long time.

UK LEGAL THREAT 

Pollution is running high in the country. So says the European Commission. Not that some of us are doing our best to get it down. For months now the Association has been pushing the Highways Agency to remove the monitoring equipment from Rickmansworth to Junction 18 of the M25, one of the local points which exceeds the Government’s recognised level for pollution at present. There must be priority for this action as it is essential to get this equipment in place. In the meanwhile, the country has been warned by the European Commission for failing to comply with EU standards of air quality. We could face court action if the UK fails to meet a directive limiting harmful airborne particles. The culprits are industry, domestic heating and traffic, the last being particularly significant at Junction 18. The particles can cause asthma, heart problems, lung cancer and premature death. The European Commissioner said action is likely if overall standards are not met soon. So residents are stating that measurements of the air quality round a potential death trap are vital now; then remedies need to be taken immediately. 


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